What an interesting Friday night tasting: near darkness with the whurring of our generator in the background and Tropical Storm Isabel just finishing her tree pruning.

Distinguishing color between the 1996 and the 1997 in the diminished light of was not overly easy. Neither vintage had as much of the orange rim that you tend to see in Barolos. The 1996 was in actuality a shade darker, but both were medium ruby.

Both wines were as similar as you might expect, so I'll focus on the differences. The 1996 was more bold and concentrated. The 1996 tasted more of darker red and black fruit with subtle leathery notes. The 1997 was more polished, more straight-forward, and smooth. Compared to the 1996 the 1997 almost tasted fat.

I'd give the 1996 94 points and the 1997 93 points simply because the 1996 was more interesting. Neither bottle blasted us with tannins. I'd say they are inside their drinking window, especially so with the 1997. Both were delicious!
Original Post
If you've got more bottles of either wine, I would wait several more years before trying another. 96-98 are outstanding years for Barolo and a producer of the Pio Cesare's quality crafts wines that can go 10+ years easily.

The reason why the '97 likely tasted fat and unfocused was that it was too young. As I mentioned in another thread, I had an '89 Pio Cesare Barolo normale and it was wonderful.

Young Nebbiolo is nice, aged Nebbiolo is a delight.
Thanks for the reply. These were my first Pios, and yes they have unopened brethren in my basement. I somewhat suspected from the professional tasting notes that they'd continue to improve. Still, it is nice to hear some confirmation. Thanks again.
Thanks for the notes. I have only 2 of the 97's, so not really in a position to try one...

I will drink them both at a nice dinner in 04-05...

No problem cometspider.

dbw, you could wait until 05-06-07 if you like. I've got a bottle of 1998 Pio Cesare Ornato that I won't be touching until 2008 at the earliest.
thanks for the notes--I just picked up 2 of the '96 Barolos at a decent price, I will give them some time to sleep!

"It was a time of such splendor--charming people, good food, laughter, and brave ideas."
Maya Angelou

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